Full Day Canoe Journey
Open canoes love journeys! It is what they became famous for…
They were intended for carrying heavy loads on long journeys through the wilderness, down rocky rivers and across vast lakes in North America and Canada. The overall design of the Voyageur birch bark canoes built and used back then by indigenous peoples of the Americas is still recognisable today.
Although our canoes are much smaller, they are just as stable, very comfortable and retain their tremendous load carrying capacity. So pack a huge picnic, with blankets, and plenty of variety to eat of a deserted beach or island. You could even fit the kitchen sink in if you wanted to!
Activity Level Challenging5/8
Group Size Large Group6
A full day canoe journey is a fairly challenging proposition, but still achievable for those who have not paddled before as long as you are reasonably fit and motivated.
Our aim (weather dependent) is to paddle a large section of Loch Sunart – the longest tidal loch on the West Coast of Scotland: Salen to Sunart (or vice versa depending upon wind and tide direction) is one possibility. This allows you to really explore the loch, islands and narrows and hopefully discover a diversity of wildlife in their natural habitats. Otter, common seal, harbour porposie, sea eagles – all reside in or alongside Loch Sunart (but sightings are not guaranteed).
On all our canoe journeys you will be accompanied by a fully qualified and experienced local guide who is there to ensure you get the best out of your journey. They will offer advice on efficient paddling, look after your safety throughout the trip, answer any of your relevant questions as best they can and highlight any wildlife and local cultural or historical sights along the way.
The minimum age we can currently take on our full day canoe tours is 16 years as that is an age at which we feel they are able physically and mentally to take an active part throughout the full day canoe journey.
After initial introductions at 10:00 am and a chat about your paddling experiences as well as the weather and tide forecasts, your guide will equip you as necessary (please see the FAQs for more information). Changing facilities are very limited at present, so please come ‘dressed’ for the day.
You may be asked to help move and lift canoes during the day, so please let your guide know if this is going to be difficult for you or if you have any medical concerns that may affect your participation in the day. We hope that you will stay dry, but occasionally people do capsize canoes and it does sometimes rain so please act and dress appropriately.
Above all, enjoy the challenge of your human-powered journey and keep your fingers crossed for an otter to make an appearance!
The following are automatically included in your booking:
- Qualified and experienced guide throughout your journey
- High quality, stable canoes
- Robust paddle in a size to suit you
- Buoyancy aid
- Waterproof paddlesport jacket & trousers (recommended whatever the weather)
- One 30 litre plastic barrel per boat (to put your belongings and lunch in during the trip)
* Please feel free to use your own paddle sport equipment as long as it confirms to current UK safety standards and best practices.
The following is a non-exhaustive list of the most obvious exclusions:
- Clothes to wear under our waterproofs suitable for the weather (please avoid jeans and cotton clothes – modern outdoor clothing will be an exclellent choice)
- Extra jumper or jacket as it will often be colder on the water
- Shoes to wear whilst paddling (these will get wet)
- Sunhat or beanie (depending upon conditions)
- Sunglasses & retainer cord (if you wear glasses normally, please ensure they are secured by a retainer of some form)
- Food and drinks to keep you going for a full day on the water
- Picnic blanket (optional)
- Spare clothes and towel (just in case!)
Full day Canoe Adventure
Full day Canoe Adventure
Meet at Otter Adventures base in Strontian at 10.00 am. If we have arranged anything different, we will have communicated it well in advance.
Don’t worry about being early as your guide may be busy preparing everything for your day. If everyone arrives at the same time we can all introduce ourselves and your guide can get a feel for your level of experience before briefing you on what you need and where you will be going.
Please arrive wearing suitable clothing for the day as changing facilities are very limited at present. We will give you canoe specific waterproofs to wear on top of your clothes as well as a buoyancy aid.
We may ask for help loading and unloading equipment – especially the canoes – or carrying equipment across the beaches so, please let your guide know if that is going to be difficult for you.
Once everyone is ready, we will head off to the start point for the day. This will depend upon wind and tides, but will ideally be on Loch Sunart – right outside our front door, but we may have to go elsewhere to seek suitable water. Don’t worry: we have ample locations to choose from within 15-20 minutes drive.
We may need someone to drive their car with a few people in as well as our own vehicles as we aim to make a journey from one place to another – possibly Salen or Resipole back to Strontian, or a circumnavigation of the islands of Carna and Oronsay (this one starts and finishes at the same location).
Our aim is to be back at Otter Adventures with all equipment returned by 5.00 pm (17:00). If the weather is amazing and the seals performing, we may be a little late – please let your guide know before the trip starts if you have to be away promptly for any reason.
We will supply you with a high quality waterproof jacket and trousers (if desired) designed specifically for paddle sports. They won’t keep you dry if you fall in, but will keep most of the rain and wind off (thereby keeping you much warmer).
You will need to decide what to wear underneath these. We would suggest that any modern outdoor of fitness related clothing would be suitable. Modern materials are excellent at wicking away moisture from your body and also dry very quickly compared to cotton, wool and denim (jeans) which should all be avoided.
It can be colder on the water than you think as you will be more open to the wind, so please dress accordingly and bring at least a spare jumper with you. We also suggest bringing a full change of clothes – just in case you fall in early in the day!
This is especially important with children as their body temperature can drop quite rapidly as they become more exhausted from prolonged exercise.
We do not provide any footwear so you will need to bring your own. When getting in and out of the canoes, you are very likely to get wet feet, so bring an old pair of shoes as well as a pair to change into after the trip. We would suggest something with a reasonable grip on the bottom as you are likely to walk over wet rocks and seaweed which may be slippery.
Changing facilities are currently very limited at our base, so please come dressed ready for the activity.
Unless agreed in advance, you should meet at our base adjacent to Otterburn Bed & Breakfast where there is parking available for a few cars.
From here we will decide on the most suitable location based upon the weather (especially the wind) and the group. This may be a short drive (possibly 20 minutes) away and we may ask you to use your vehicle as well as ours to enable us to maximise our time on the water.
Half day tours start at either 09:30 or 14:00. Expect to be back at our base roughly three hours after meeting.
Please arrive at this time as our guide will be preparing for the day until that point and will brief everyone together before equipping you all for the day.
It is not practical to allow pets of any sort on our trips; our guides are trained to look after people and not animals.
In many places we visit at various times of year the wildlife is very sensitive and easily disturbed by animals that do not normally reside there.
Our definition of ‘bad weather’ is anything above force 4 winds (13+ mph / 20+ km/h) on the Beaufort scale as this makes it very hard to control the canoes and make progress (except downwind).
For these reasons, we always look at the weather forecasts on the day of the journey and make a decision on location and trip that morning.
If it is too windy and no suitable location is available, we will cancel the trip and refund your money (please see our cancellation policy for full details).
Rain is not a reason for us to cancel a trip which is why we include use of our waterproofs in the cost of the trip. Please dress appropriate to the conditions and make the most of what may well be an evocative day on the water…
Half day open canoe adventures are an ideal way to explore the lochs of the Ardnamurchan Peninsulas as you will be able to share the paddling between two people in one very stable canoe and work together to make progress should the wind pick up a little.
You do not need any previous experience of paddling (although it does help) as our guides will show you an efficient way of paddling and offer tips to steer the boat as the journey progresses.
As long as you have a basic level of fitness that enables you to undertake light to moderate exercise that causes you to be slightly out of breath, you should be fine paddling for half a day.
If you are in any doubt, please consult your own doctor before booking. If you feel there is a medical issue you would like to discuss with us before booking, then please do get in touch using whatever method you wish.